LeDuff: Getting to the bottom of Don Austin's resignation - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

LeDuff: Getting to the bottom of Don Austin's resignation

Posted: Updated:

Fox 2 was first to tell you about fire commissioner Don Austin's plans to step down.

As Charlie LeDuff shows us, it's a move that comes after a controversial tenure running a department plagued by cuts in fire fighters, failing equipment and aging fire houses.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch LeDuff's report, or read it below
____________

Buried in this week's news was the story of yet another Bing appointee out. This time it's fire commissioner Don Austin after two and a half years.

Let's take a look back at his stewardship of the fire department. It all started with a wink and the gun.

AUSTIN: We're going to make it better. I promise you.

It only got worse. His ideas weren't very good.

AUSTIN: I'm talking about sometime let it burn.

You can now pay to become a Detroit firefighter for a day. Seriously! You can help pull hose!

His excuses weren't very good either.

A little girl died in a house fire and the department sent a rig that didn't pump water and didn't have ladders. This is what we were told.

AUSTIN: I believe to the bottom of my heart everything worked as it should.

His command staff was surly.

LEDUFF TO WHEELER: We're spending $60 million on a new public safety headquarters and the houses we visited today should be condemned. How do you respond to that?

WHEELER: You're responsible for telling the truth. Why don't you tell the truth?

LEDUFF TO WHEELER: Let me get that.

His command staff was petty. Paramedic Jeff Gaglio calling in sick today, sick to his stomach after being punished for giving away city-owned property.

GAGLIO: Yesterday I got notified that I will be brought up on EMS departmental charges.

LEDUFF TO GAGLIO: What, what do you mean?

GAGLIO: I'm being punished. I'm being punished for giving the man a blanket.

The public wasn't given the truth.

Well it's official, Detroit. Your fire department is lying to you. Because Fox 2 has obtained this internal memo which says fire department dispatchers will no longer tell 911 operators that there are no ambulances available.

MCNAMARA: We have a new saying, shamefully, because the fire department and the city put us in this position that 'When seconds count we're only minutes away.'

And when the fiscal times got tough he was no where to be found.

Whoa, whoa, whoa - hold on.

There's the fire commissioner; that's his arm! He saw us and ran away!

You know, I can't help remember what the fire commissioner told us all last summer when they announced these cutbacks.

AUSTIN: I go to bed every night praying that I don't wake up to a disaster.

Thanks for your service, Mr. Fire Commissioner.

Next!

  • Charlie LeDuffCharlie LeDuffMore>>

  • The Americans with Charlie LeDuff: A righteous voice from the Ferguson chaos

    The Americans with Charlie LeDuff: A righteous voice from the Ferguson chaos

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 9:21 PM EDT2014-08-21 01:21:50 GMT
    Charlie heads to the frontlines of Ferguson and finds a voice of reason and bravery against impossible odds.
    Charlie heads to the frontlines of Ferguson and finds a voice of reason and bravery against impossible odds.
  • Court: Ex-judge Wade McCree immune from civil suit

    Court: Ex-judge Wade McCree immune from civil suit

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 2:04 PM EDT2014-07-22 18:04:29 GMT
    The infamous selfie taken by Judge Wade mcCree. The infamous selfie taken by Judge Wade mcCree.
    A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's ruling that a disgraced Detroit judge cannot be sued by a defendant in a child support case he presided over.
    A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's ruling that a disgraced Detroit judge cannot be sued by a defendant in a child support case he presided over.
  • LeDuff: Where is the respect for the real hosts of the Super Bowl?

    LeDuff: Where is the respect for the real hosts of the Super Bowl?

    Super Bowl XLVIII is in New York.  Well, not exactly.  The Super Bowl's host city is actually East Rutherford, N.J.  Sometimes it's hard to get respect in America if you're not from places like NYC or LA.
    Super Bowl XLVIII is in New York.  Well, not exactly.  The Super Bowl's host city is actually East Rutherford, N.J.  Sometimes it's hard to get respect in America if you're not from places like Los Angeles., Washington, D.C. or New York.  If you live in New Jersey, you're in the shadow of the Big Apple.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Charlie LeDuff: Off The ChainCharlie LeDuff: Off The ChainMore>>

  • Sayonara Bingaling

    Sayonara Bingaling

    Friday, December 13 2013 7:35 PM EST2013-12-14 00:35:18 GMT
    LeDuff: From my perch, I can say Bing was a mayor who preferred to get his nails polished but never dirty.
    LeDuff: From my perch, I can say Bing was a mayor who preferred to get his nails polished but never dirty.
  • LeDuff goes inside massive Detroit Police raid

    LeDuff goes inside massive Detroit Police raid

    Tuesday, December 3 2013 7:57 PM EST2013-12-04 00:57:27 GMT
    On Tuesday, police in Detroit teamed up with Michigan State Police and federal law enforcement officers to conduct a massive raid the size of a city block.
    On Tuesday, police in Detroit teamed up with Michigan State Police and federal law enforcement officers to conduct a massive raid the size of a city block.
  • Is this the crest of dawn in this thing we call a city?

    Is this the crest of dawn in this thing we call a city?

    Friday, November 8 2013 6:12 PM EST2013-11-08 23:12:53 GMT
    LeDuff: Darkness Rules. And then on a corner of a street called Crusade, a case of what should be considered normal becomes the extraordinary:a streetlight gets repaired. And the curtains get pulled back from the iron door.
    LeDuff: Darkness Rules. And then on a corner of a street called Crusade, a case of what should be considered normal becomes the extraordinary: a streetlight gets repaired. And the curtains get pulled back from the iron door.
Powered by WorldNow

KDFW FOX 4
400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Main Station Directory:
(214) 720-4444
News Fax:
(214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices